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Online Education: The New Normal

Author:

Kavya is a certified educator. She likes reading and writing on contemporary issues.

INTRODUCTION

With the global COVID 19 pandemic causing unprecedented challenges, education is no different.

The outbreak has disrupted the academic year, cancelled examinations and affected classes across the globe.

indian-online-education-amid-pandemic

Schools and colleges have been shut to prevent the spread of virus and this has given way to online learning.

It is believed that this could be a turning point in the industry as there is change in the teaching- learning habits and the format. With the increasing appreciation of electronic education, it is seen as an attempt to reset the global learning.

DIGITAL ARENA: The bright side

The COVID 19 crisis, coming as it did at a critical time in the educational calendar in India, has boosted the sector like never before.
Google (GOOGL) and KPMG estimated in a 2017 report that India's online education market would be worth around $2 billion in 2021, up from $250 million in 2016, with the number of paying users rising to 9.6 million.

indian-online-education-amid-pandemic

Education via gadgets has definitely enabled a more personalized, engaging and interactive teaching learning process.

The instantaneous feedback given in such sessions help in improving the learning curve and offers opportunity to shy or more reticent people to participate in discussions. Flexibility and cost effectiveness are some other big advantages that are offered.
The online form of education is evolving and is widely accepted today.

However, this has also sparked a debate on whether the increased amount of screen time helps a student to learn or if it is hampering their holistic development.

HEALTH EFFECTS OF ONLINE EDUCATION

Prolonged use of earphones, continuously attending classes is said to be causing problems like dry eye syndrome, burning sensation in eyes, noise- induced deafness.

The problem depends on the duration and intensity of the sound.

indian-online-education-amid-pandemic

Considering the adverse effects, the Maharashtra government has banned online classes from pre- primary to class II. Similarly, the Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh government have extended the ban till class V.

OTHER LIMITATIONS

Teachers across the country are scrambling to find ways to continue teaching their pupils in a situation where physical contact is no longer possible. Some teachers may thrive in this new world, but majority of the them will need to upgrade not only their technological skills but also their teaching resources.
Experts have pointed out that there is intense requirement of self discipline and time management skills. Lack of social interaction may also affect personality development to a great extent.
Evaluation of both pros and cons of E learning will facilitate in facing the challenge of working in a new environment.

E LEARNING - INFRASTRUCTURE

The major challenge of e learning is disparity in access-
a) electricity
b) internet connection
c) smart devices

Electricity- Though Indian homes have electricity connection but the number of hours for which it is available everyday varies.

indian-online-education-amid-pandemic

As per the data from Mission Antyodaya, 20% of India's households received less than 8 hours of electricity and 47% received more than 12 hours.

Internet Connection and Devices- In NSS 75th round, some aspects of Information and Communication Technology with regard to their access and use were covered.

indian-online-education-amid-pandemic
indian-online-education-amid-pandemic
indian-online-education-amid-pandemic

It has been observed that approx 24% of households in India have internet facilities whereas less than 11% of households have the computer facility.
Only 8% of all households with members aged between five and twenty four have both computer and an internet connection.

indian-online-education-amid-pandemic

The digital divide is evident across class, gender and region.

A peaceful environment and a separate room to listen to the class is a luxury many cannot afford.

The existing social divide without necessary supportive measures, may translate the prevailing disparity in virtual world into widening educational inequalities among learners.

However, given the circumstances as a result of the outbreak, it can be said that online classes are the need of this hour and they are a good alternative for continuation of the industry as it suffers. There is need to broaden it's reach and scope to far greater horizons than perhaps ever imagined.

indian-online-education-amid-pandemic

We need to invest much more in the field so that even the poorest of poor and marginalised sections can also get access to the knowledge for which the world is longing.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Short Message Service (SMS) and Radio should be used to help households with no internet access.

The government sponsored resources such as SWAYAM, MOOC, ePathshala, SWAYAMPRABHA should be explored.

indian-online-education-amid-pandemic

The use of community radio and television broadcasts can be seen as an alternative too.
There is need to create platforms for catering requirements in regional languages.

The policies should be more focused on poor and not just those who already have access to certain facilities.
The fact that our education system is not geared towards such situations and that we have not invested enough has become evident to everyone.

indian-online-education-amid-pandemic

CONCLUSION

It can be said that an unprecedented social disaster can be avoided in future if more entities- Government and Private pitch into policies and programmes together to narrow down the digital divide that we are seeing today.

In the foreseeable future, education is going to be digital but with right infrastructure, we would be in better place to handle this.

A well rounded and effective e learning practices is what we are looking for to build knowledge, develop skills that can drive employability, productivity and well being of young minds.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

Kavya Jain (author) on September 30, 2020:

Thank you Ankita for stopping by, I am glad you liked the hub.

Ankita B on September 30, 2020:

A really informative and well researched article. Thank you for sharing.

Kavya Jain (author) on September 30, 2020:

Thank you Kanishk.

Kanishk Koushik on September 30, 2020:

Good write-up.

Kavya Jain (author) on September 19, 2020:

Thank you Dr Pran Rangan for your visit and kind comments. I appreciate it very much. And yes if the associated barriers will be removed then it will prove to be much relevant learning tool, even in the post pandemic scenario.

Dr Pran Rangan from Kanpur (UP), India on September 19, 2020:

Nice write-up. Covid-19 pandemic has thought us some important things. And online education is one of them. It has some drawbacks; if they are removed, it can prove to be a useful learning tool in future.

Some health issues accompany it too. They aren't serious and can be addressed effectively.

Thanks Kavya for sharing.

Kavya Jain (author) on September 09, 2020:

Devika Primić - Thank you for appreciation. And yes in India there is lot to be done in education, specially during this pandemic children are finding it difficult to arrange the basic e- mediums to study, which reflects the need of development of electronic infrastructure. Hopefully the scenario will change in coming years.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 09, 2020:

An interesting and informative hub about the mishaps in India due to e-learning. It sounds like there is a lot to do before everyone involved in schooling gets started on an education.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 09, 2020:

An informative and well- written in detail and explains all aspects of e-learning and of how those are affected with no access of the internet, ečectricity and smart devices. This allows for lots of changes in the use of technology.

Kavya Jain (author) on September 09, 2020:

Thanks each of you for your generous comments, they are very motivating and insightful. I am glad, the article is well received and people could relate with the topic.

sowspeaks from Bengaluru on September 09, 2020:

Hi Kavya, very well researched and impressive.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on August 20, 2020:

Nice article Kavya. Keep up your good work in hubpages. Stay blessed.

Surabhi jain on August 18, 2020:

Kavya, your content is well written, described, conclusive and informative. U explained all the problems faced by the parents, teachers and students in education sector in this pendamic and solutions too. Bravo.

Shitiz Gupta on August 13, 2020:

If someone asks me to explain the actual picture of E-learning in India this article is perfect to refer to someone. How nicely all the problems and solution to solve them are described is really appreciable.

Kudos to the efforts !

Olufemi Victor from Nigeria on August 01, 2020:

Some deep digging was done to put this together, you really have the eyes for insights Kavya. great Article.

Chhavi on July 05, 2020:

A very articulate piece of writing. Truly said how much ever adverse the effects are to interferance of technology in teaching-leanring, it is still better than nothing in these dire circumstances.

Some of the alternative solutions mentioned are very well thought and creative. One must surely explore the alternative solutions.

Kshipra Jain on July 04, 2020:

Very informative and contemporary in context. Keep it up Kavya. Looking forward to more from you.

Honey Jain on July 04, 2020:

Very well described. E- classes are totally game changing these days, I truly can relate here, as some of my students are enjoying online classes, but some of are missing their school.

Keep writing. Looking for more blogs.

Garima Yadav on July 04, 2020:

This is very insightful. The present situation might be a good opportunity to concise the school educational curriculum, focus only on the essential concepts, incorporate self-tutoring learning resources and restructure a evaluative curriculum for students so that even students from rural areas bereft of access to online-resources are not adversely affected. These necessary changes will subside anxiety and usher in optimism (even at psychological level) for students struggling to recuperate with the prevalent conditions forced by the pandemic. A more palatable curriculum is the need of the hour.

Priya Aggarwal on July 03, 2020:

Very well explained. The best part I found is the factual data you provided of all organizations which sets as an exemplification for proper understanding to all the information you gave. Keep up the spirit.

Madhur on July 03, 2020:

This article is very insightful. it tells about the major problem faced by us as a student and by teacher's as well during this pandemic.

E-learning is a great initiative for betterment of our education system but first everyone should be resourceful for that.

Ritik Chourasia on July 03, 2020:

I agree with you as technologies are getting updated day by day, and its better time use these kinds of techniques for teaching. And hope this pandemic will end soon.

Geetanjali Sharma on July 03, 2020:

Well information

Nishtha on July 03, 2020:

Highly informative and well explained article. Penned down extremely well, explaining the actual educational challenges and opportunities prevailing in this pandemic. I believe digital learning is no doubt going to do wonders in the foreseeable time provided that infrastructure (electricity, internet access) for the same improves with time.

Simrah on July 03, 2020:

Extremely informative and very well structured article. I believe that even though this pandemic has made the existing modes of learning completely redundant (at least for a time being) but this also has given us an opportunity to introduce new educational reforms that are very much required right now.

Shruti Parasher on July 03, 2020:

Very well penned.. !! informative and interesting.. !! Good job author

sarita on July 03, 2020:

E learning has come up as a good solution for catching up with the loss due to prolonged lockdown.

It has a bright future.

Manshu on July 03, 2020:

This is a really gud article providing really accurate piece of information. Current scenario's advantages n disadvantages are discussed very well along wid dat some alternatives shared for online learning are great.

Ekta on July 03, 2020:

Best!! This is very informative. You really put it all together. Taking online classes myself i can relate to most of it. Where on one hand we're relaxed that our year has been saved due to these classes but way to go for online education.

SMILEY on July 03, 2020:

This article has explained the aspects of current situation in the most appropriate and relevant manner. It not only spreads awareness among the individuals but can also be seen as a guidance for our future development.

Ayushi on July 03, 2020:

Very well written!! Keep writing more on such issues. And seriously people should be aware of this current topic. No one was prepared for this e-learning before this covid-19 not even the teachers nor students. But yess this is the most challenging task to provide e-education for every kid & especially to whom who do not have any smart devices at their home.

Suhasini on July 03, 2020:

Very well written. And I completely agree, while this pandemic has called for a new era of online education, in India we are still eon away from reaching the point wherein every single child could benefit from it. So before we encourage e-learning, the government needs to take all the necessary steps to make provisions to make this form of learning accessible to all.